Junior year is a busy time for students, and arguably one of the most critical college prep years. There’s only a little bit of time left before summer break and juniors are suddenly rising seniors – and ready to start applying to college. There’s a lot that juniors can do between now and then to prepare and get on track with their college prep.
Meet with Your Counselor
First and foremost, if you haven’t already, make time to meet with your college counselor. Your college counselor is a great resource to help to you figure out where you need to be with your prep and what you can do now to ensure that you’re prepared come next fall. Your college counselor can also help you with identifying schools for your balanced college list, help you adjust your test prep plan if needed, and more. This is also the time to consider getting outside help from an independent college counselor if you need additional support.
Work on Your College List and Visit!
After you have a chance to meet with your college counselor, you need to start putting the final touches on your balanced college list. Hopefully you’ve already started your school research, but if you haven’t, now is the time to really dive in so that you can get your list finalized ASAP and have some time to visit schools while they’re still in session. College visits are an extremely important part of the college admissions process, so if you haven’t had the chance to visit your top-choice schools, or just seen one or two, aim to visit as many as you can before the semester is over. Don’t just jump in the car and drive, either! Take time to plan your visit, register for the official information session and campus tour, and more.
Review Your Test Prep Plan
In conjunction with reviewing and expanding your balanced college list, you need to know admission and testing requirements for each school and how your academic and testing profile compares to that of previously admitted students. If you’ve already taken the SAT or ACT and want to improve your score, now is the time to identify a late spring or summer test date to prepare for. Also look at your other testing options. Do some of your schools require or recommend SAT Subject Test scores? If so, and you haven’t taken any yet, now is the time to prepare! You can align your SAT Subject Tests with your AP exams or any other coursework that you’re wrapping up at the end of the semester. Adjust your test prep plan accordingly and enlist the help of an expert tutor if needed.
Plan a Productive Summer
We can’t stress this enough – colleges like seeing students spending their summer breaks productively. If you don’t have a plan for the summer yet, now is the time to think about it! Many college-based summer program deadlines have passed, but you can still look for opportunities. This can be as simple as volunteering at a local organization teaching music lessons, finding a relevant internship, or even continuing one of your current activities into the summer months. Get creative with your summer plans!
Don’t Forget About Your Apps!
In addition to having a productive summer, juniors will also need to make a plan for their college applications. Current juniors can get a head start by creating a Common App account and filling out their personal information. They can even start working on their personal statements. When the Common App opens on August 1, students will be able to roll over all their existing information and start on their supplements as college start releasing them. This is a good time to discuss some of your essay ideas with your college counselor and get a head start on your writing since the Common App has already announced the prompts for 2019-20.
Even if you got a late start with your college planning, there’s still a lot that juniors can do between now and summer break to get on track. IvyWise can provide additional guidance during this time and help juniors finalize their balanced college list, develop a testing plan to finishing up SAT/ACT and SAT Subject Test prep, provide suggestions for summer experiences, brainstorm essay topics, and more. Now is the time to get started so contact us today for more information on our college counseling services and to set up an Initial Consultation.
You can also download our free College Planning Checklist for a breakdown of what you need to do each year in order to prepare for the college admissions process!